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Articles for 2010's budget

Government published its Pre-Budget Outlook on November 12, 2009.  According to the Minister for Finance, Brian Linehan TD, "The Government’s planned €4 billion adjustment to the public finances in the forthcoming Budget is forecast to result in the General Government Balance stabilising at -12 per cent of GDP next year."

Social Justice Ireland Produced both  Budget Choices Document 2010 and a Budget Analysis and Crtique Document 2010. 

Budget Choices Document 2010 can be downloaded here

Budget Analysis and Crtique Document 2010 can be downloaded here

Producing a fair budget and working for a fairer future requires that Ireland stop benchmarking itself with Romania, Slovakia, Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia.

Ireland is currently facing a series of inter-related crises i.e.: banking (property bubble collapse and little lending to small and medium-sized businesses); fiscal; economic (competitiveness and job losses); social (income loss, services being cut back as demand rises); reputational.
Framing a Response 

The 2010 Budget represents a futher step in the process of getting Irish 
fiscal policy back onto a sustainable path. This process started with the 
2009 Budget published in October 2008, and continued, inter alia, with the 
Budget 2010 as Ireland's total tax-take plummets towards a record low.  As Ireland faces a range of interrelated crises and Government prepares its Budget for 2010 it is important to realise that:
·        Ireland is not a poor country;
·        Ireland’s total tax-take is one of the lowest in the developed world and continues to fall as a percentage of GDP;
·        15.8% of people are at risk of poverty with incomes below €12,000 for a single person or €28,000 for a family of four;

Given the huge fall in the Government’s tax-take and the substantial Budget deficit there are stark choices to be made if this situation is to be reversed in 2010. Much of the public discussion has focused on cuts in public expenditure with the options outlined in the McCarthy Report (Bord Snip Nua) being taken by many as the menu from which Government must choose. This of course misrepresents the situation as the overall tax-take is a key issue that also needs to be addressed. The Report of the Commission on Taxation provides an opportunity for Government to move towards developing a fairer tax system and thereby raising the overall tax take as a percentage of GDP.

The cuts in expenditure proposed in the Bord Snip report are focused disproportionately on people who are poor or sick or older or vulnerable in some way. Cuts in welfare rates and in many services will mean that those who are vulnerable will bear the brunt of Government's attempts to balance its budget. 

Social Justice Ireland recognises full well that the country's finances are in bad shape and need to be rectified. However, Ireland is in this situation because of the activities of bankers, politicians, speculators, developers and many economists. Who should pay for the misdeeds of these people? The authors of the Bord Snip report provide a clear answer: from their perspective the vulnearable, the disadvantaged and those living in remote communities should be the hardest hit!  Social Justice Ireland rejects this conclusion totally.